When Meredith O'Reilly asked me about terms like nudist colony and I gave her my limited understanding, I was intrigued to see her set a story at a nudist convention in a hotel that had connected nudism and domestic discipline. I'd been thinking for awhile of erotica/erotic romance focusing on nudist characters. I know that nudist and nudism flow through my Vala's Story serial and in the way that I live my nudism- without titles, unless I have to explain to others online. So here I want to imagine an LGBTQ dating mixer at a nudism gathering.
Naan looked at the sign beside the ballroom door; it read "LGBTQ mixer." Ze walked in, hir gaze jumping over the milling people, many obviously already acquainted.
Maya looked up from a paper she was reading and waved at Naan to join her.
"Okay, so you talked me into this mixer. I'm not even sure I'm ready to start dating." Naan frowned.
"This is just some fun. We're doing a speed dating thing so that all twenty of you will get to meet each other."
Naan rolled hir eyes. "You're not doing it?"
Maya released a huge grin. "I didn't get to tell you before we both left for the conference... I'm dating someone now."
Naan threw back hir head in open laughter. "You have to dish after this."
"Of course." Maya patted Naan's back. "Now go join the others. We start in just a moment."
"Yes, Mom." Naan hurried away to the group. Ze considered the anticipation on her fellow daters' faces. Just a little interaction. I'll be fine.
Maya moved to the front of the room. With a lifted voice, she began, "I will assign first tables in just a moment. I want to welcome you all to the queer community dating mixer. While this whole convention has been planned and is being executed to be as inclusive as the nudism community is, there are times when we just need to be among people more like us in terms of sexuality. My hope is to see everyone partnered at least for dinner by the end of our time. Remember that poly groupings are welcome, but we ask that all attempts are made for an even number of people to be included."
Naan brushed hir fingers over the name tag cord.
"While I ask that everyone waits until I announce the chat time to begin talking, you may move to your table when I call your name. At the first table, Naan Tehrani and April Showers." Maya paused and held up her hand. "Now no laughing please. April told me the story on the first day of this conference of 'hippy parents who thought naming her April with their last name was a riot'. I find her stamina amazing; I believe I'd have changed my name if my parents had done that to me."
Naan watched a lovely blond haired woman, ze supposed, approach the table marked 1. Ze took a deep breath before joining her.
Their hands placed on the table top, they found themselves gazing into each others' eyes, the sound of Maya's voice blurry in the background.
April turned her hands palm up and smiled when Naan reached out to grasp them. She blinked her pretty green eyes and squeezed the holding hands.
What seemed like forever later to Naan, Maya announced, "Four minutes to get acquainted. I'll notify you of time to move to the next table by sounding a Buddhist singing bowl. The first person I named in this grouping will move to the next table in numerical order, so like, Naan, you'll go to table 2. The second person named, like you, April, will go in opposite numerical order, to table 10. Everyone understand?"
"Yes, Maya," the group called out, laughter and giggles among their words.
"Get to it!" Maya giggled as she walked to sit at an extra, unnumbered table.
Naan breathed in to keep the words from tumbling from hir mouth. "Isn't it good that we have these name tags with our preferred pronouns on it?"
April let loose with a tinkling giggle. She nodded even as she murmured, "I was raised by nudists so I'm already used to not looking lower than the neck for gender clues. At least, not obnoxiously like textile wearers do sometimes."
"I love that phrase! Textile wearers." Naan released one of April's hands only to turn the hand over, to stroke her long fingers. "I'm sorry. That was rather forward of me."
"No apology necessary. I liked it." April glanced at Naan's name tag. "I don't think I've ever heard Naan as a person's name. Do you care to tell the story of how you come to wear it?"
Naan sighed. "Normally not a story I tell on a first date, when I'm brave enough to date at all." Ze laughed deprecatingly. "At least here I'm in an inclusive space, right?"
"Right." April squeezed Naan's hand that she still held.
"I'm sure you guess from looking at my face that I'm Middle Eastern in ancestry?"
"Well I was born in Iran and when Western-educated doctor found me to be intersexed at birth, my traditional parents didn't know what to do. I looked enough like a girl that that's how they decided to raise me and so I was named Naan, because I meant just as much to them as a piece of bread."
"I am so sorry. My parents were just stoned hippies, no cruelty meant, with my name."
"It's okay. It really is now. I'm here now in the States where I have a better chance to live comfortably within my own body."
"I imagine." April's smile returned. "It must be nice to be able to write intersex on your name tag and not have to explain in detail more than that, unless you care to, at this conference."
Naan responded with hir own smile. "Definitely. As I'm glad- and interested- to see queer marked on yours."
"I stepped away from gender based decisions regarding sexuality a long time ago. Queer makes the most sense to me as an identity as there is so much more to attraction than gender, for me." April took a sip from her red plastic reusable cup. "What drew you to nudism, naturism?"
Naan glanced at the ceiling for a moment. "I think, maybe, it's about freedom, of comfort in my own skin. Beyond that, an escape from the yards of fabric I was expected to wear as an Iranian woman."
April nodded. "I think I'd have that response too. For me, growing up on a commune, I've never really understood being any other way. Only time we put on anything was while working on the farm and then we'd grab whatever clothes, without mind to what gender it was meant for."
The sound of the Buddhist singing bowl echoed through the room.
"I look forward to speaking with you more over the days of the conference." Naan again took both of April's hands.
"As do I." April lifted Naan's hands to her lips for a quick, soft kiss before moving toward table 10.
Naan touched hir freshly kissed hands to her cheeks before moving to table 2.
And with that, I ponder what will happen at the end of the mixer...Until next Monday :) (UPDATE- next week's link http://joellecasteel.blogspot.com/2014/10/nudism-experiment-april-and-naan-go-to.html )